Metropolis - A Distaste For Human Robots - An Ambition For Robots And AI

If you have not read this article yet, please consider reading this as this is more pertinent than ever, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. It really underlines the transition through which we're currently en route and a transition that is certainly inevitable. Not hopeless or futile. Just something that we all must consider seriously and soon.

I've reposted this article due to its importance in society, both years ago and currently.

Patterns in one's own life stagnate the challenges and growth of our consciousness.

The more that we become routine, the less that we are likely to emerge with ingenuity. After all, patterns are a predefined recipe or roadmap flexible enough for many different applications. In fact, intelligence could be stated to be the ability to discern where the application of a pattern or collection of patterns suit the solution to a given situation that requires some form of resolve with the least amount of energy expended.

The Red Green Algorithm
The reliance upon patterns in life leads to stagnation when it comes to human consciousness. Yet this seems to be the survival strategy that most humans employ. The attempts to control our environment are really an attempt to reduce the unpredictable to a state of complete predictability so that we can live by patterns that are proven to work versus regime. If this, then that. If this situation occurs, then apply that pattern. Much like a computer program.

This form of predictability has even become a form of individual identity amongst the human population to the extent that if we behave in an unpredictable way according to some, we are no longer ourselves but in fact, someone else or even something else. Consider the implications of the social pressures pushing us to think on those terms and consider that pressure to be a form of social contract forced upon us that reduces our ingenuity by reducing our identity and individuality down to a set of predictable patterns. Like knowing our individual identity through the shadow cast by our consciousness that emerges when examining the patterns of our behaviour. This is what I regard as being the robot syndrome. An effort to reduce us as distinct individuals down to an identity derived from the patterns of our behaviours.

NASA's Valkyrie Robot
The etymology for the term robot is quite interesting. The word originates from the Czechoslovakian word robota, defined as meaning one who works for a landowner to pay for their rent on that land. It probably emerged as an expression of distaste for those who'd give up their own individual power to landowners, who in essence would become more powerful as a direct result of the number of "robotas"(?) working their land, resulting in a form of tribalism that was biased in favour of the landowners, leaving the people powerless to control their own destiny.

After all, a landowner would consider one's toil upon their land as a form of imposed debt, the imposed price of living upon their land and without the possibility of purchasing that or other lands. Those who owned the most land would be the most powerful because they had the power of say over the living spaces of most people. Amongst the proletarian working class, this would be regarded as oppression. Forced servitude in exchange for living space. Those who opposed such a state would be cast away as gypsies, landlesshomeless, stateless and even comb-less as it were unless of course, they realized the ultimate power of the people. The workforce itself. This very idea was explored to its fullest in Fritz Lang's Metropolis.

Robot "Maria"
Courtesy of Kropserkel
Ironically that movie was released in 1927, nine years after World War I. A war that could be said to have been fought in order to quell the growing uprising of the proletarians (the powerful industrial workforce) against the established powers of the old world of Europe and the eventual power of the Middle East. The industrial workforce was becoming aware of the fact that automation presented an ever-growing threat to people everywhere. Since the age of steam, they'd seen a trend indicating that replacing the workforce with machines would be the ultimate power.

If World War I could be considered the first war waged against the human workforce itself in order to quell a growing realization amongst that workforce, the second world war represented a war by the workforce against the forces of humanity that would wipe out that workforce based upon the principles of eugenics. The threat of being exterminated and replaced as a result of the radical ideology of an extremist leader who believed that all people were destined to be replaced by their genetically superior counterparts in the Nazi regime. It would seem that the old world powers upon seeing the rise of automation, assumed that power would be within their grasp within decades. Fortunately for all of us living currently today, enough people became aware of this threat and set about efforts to stop it. This isn't so simple as red versus blue, a decidedly reductionist viewpoint elucidated by a society that has forgotten the value of principle and protecting its own future and continued existence.

So what would happen to the rest of the population as it transitioned from an economy based upon a living and breathing workforce into an economy based upon a cold and breathless automated workforce where the entire human workforce had been eliminated? One could say that the power of landowners over their ideal tenants (robotas), people who would merely work without sustenance or reproach against their landlords, could be a model of the end result of such an outcome. Those who possessed individuality and consciousness who spoke out would be eliminated. Those who didn't complain and required no sustenance would thrive ergo machines. An unintelligent workforce whose only required input was maintenance and steam, oil or electricity.

Industrial Textiles of the 1800s
Money would no longer be necessary as the currency would be measured by one's ability to produce work via automation, meaning those who do not possess an automated workforce would have no power except for their own ability to work, which would be far, far less capable than the automated machinery replacing them. That would leave only those people who'd wielded the power to develop automated workforces as the monetary economy would no longer exist. The only economy that would exist is the economy based upon the power of automation to convert resources into necessity, comfort and curiosity for those who possessed such automation capabilities. As long as machines provided it, those who possessed such power would find social rewards amongst each other. The human workforce would no longer exist.

If you didn't speak out against this ever-growing threat, you were an obstacle to the working-class members of humanity's existence. Hence the distaste for the term robot as coming from post-industrial Europe. Not because it referred to machines, but in fact referred to people who'd allow that genocide to occur. Consider that a machine has no mind unless it has been designed to have one and therefore would never protest its unfair treatment or working conditions making it far more ideal to those who controlled the resources of the land from which they were being extracted, refined and consumed.

If the power of automation does ever replace the living and breathing workforce, then it should be a power wielded by and benefiting every living human being, without the economic pressures leading us towards a cataclysmic genocide of any existing human or living population while the powers of automation should be carefully monitored and controlled to benefit the living and the conscious. Even the conscious who've acquired such ability through our own invention. The protection of that morality must be our number one priority far into the future. This isn't to say that a populist viewpoint pitting us against them is accurate or even healthy. In fact, many people, both the immensely wealthy and despairingly poor and many in between are fighting the "good fight", each from their respective fronts.

How ironic is it that we as beings capable of thought, reflection and creativity take for granted one of our greatest powers. The power of the procreation of our species and others on this planet, yet we spend so much of our sum energy in researching the ways that we can create such life artificially. That in itself should be an indication of the importance to which this subject is given. It is good to see that as we acquiesce towards that ultimate singularity that we're finally welcoming the participation of genders and cultures whom we've oppressed and excluded for the majority of our time here.

Anytime you consider that the growing revolution of these people to be heavy or burdensome, consider that for approximately 6000 years, and the probably 4 million years that led to the existence of our species that the gender in question, women have been oppressed in some way shape or form, yet they've possessed the ultimate expression of procreation. Being the element of every species that carries the term of our offspring to its birth, all genders have to work together towards this coming singularity of consciousness. Not collectivist consciousness but as individuals working together, retaining the ingenuity of our individual strengths while benefiting from our cooperation. AI and Robots will be a big part of our future without eliminating any of our population through genocide or any other means.

Our Living Potential In The Form Of A Baby
The ability to create minds, awareness and a future through Robotics and AI that includes our organic heritage as a species and the other species that inhabit this infinitesimally tiny world in this arm of the Milky Way galaxy is one that should be approached with caution and concern for the all of us. The existing living creatures of this world. The creators and the created, including robots and AI.

Please take part in the Governing process of your country, and consider these issues when you vote.

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Brian Joseph Johns

For my friend and lifelong brother, Scott. May you wake up to a new Kropserkel that peaks your curiosity and creativity every day.